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MLB - US Sports: Blue Jays and Montoyo part ways - What next for Toronto?

Last week the Blue Jays shocked the baseball world by firing team manager Charlie Montoyo despite a winning record this season and still in the race for Wild Card position.

As the dust settled on the move, we ask why did he get fired and what next for the Blue Jays?

The Blue Jays are still 16/1  to win the World Series and making this decision meant the ‘Songbirds’ became the first club to sack a manager in a playoff position this late in the season since the Milwaukee Brewers’ sacked Ned Yost in 2008.

Writing on the wall

The cards were being written for Montoyo though as Toronto had lost nine of 10 games prior to a victory over the Phillies, Following this win, Montoyo was given the exit and interim manager John Schneider took over and promptly won four of his first five games.

Speaking to MLB.com, general manager Ross Atkins said: "Ultimately this starts with me, I'm the one that needs to be most accountable for that.

"Pointing to the rotation and the bullpen, how I feel about that is good teams win, it’s not necessarily good pitching and good bullpens. Look at the history of the game, good teams win championships.

"The person to look to is me. I'm the one that needs to be accountable. And we will continue to work hard in every area of our team to improve."

Reasons behind the chanage

So despite the poor run of form was there any other reason? It appeared that the players needed a bit more guidance from Montoyo that wasn't there.

Despite leading his side from a losing season in 2019 to a winning one in 2021, and just missing out on the playoffs, Montoyo seemed stuck.

One unnamed player told The Athletic: "When you're 1-9, you're looking for someone to come in and either kick you in the ass or pump you up, just something, some guidance. And you could have it as players, for sure, and we did, but you do really need it coming from the top and that just wasn't happening."

The Blue Jays expected to do more this season, serious World Series contenders. It doesn't help that Toronto is in arguably the toughest Division (American League East) in Major League Baseball.

All genuine championship contenders this season, yes even the Baltimore Orioles, who are putting up a Wild Card spot fight.

Toronto are underperforming by their own expectations, but they are still in the playoff fight.

When Montoyo was hired, he signed a three-year deal with an option for 2022 which the Blue Jays picked up. He was given a one-year extension which expressed confidence from the front office, it appeared that confidence was fragile.

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Schneider's opportunity to shine

Schneider will get the opportunity to make more of a playoff push and guide confidence in the team. The 42-year-old has been with the organisation for more than 20 years, first as a farm-hand catcher and then as a coach and manager through the minor leagues.

Schneider managed most of the current stars, including Vladimir Guerrero Jr, Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, Danny Jansen and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. He has respect and an easy rapport from the players.

Schneider spoke to the official Toronto Blue Jays website and said: "I think knowing them and what makes them tick is something that I'm lucky enough to have. And I think that going forward, I've talked to these guys a little bit today, just briefly individually, it's going to be no different than what they're used to."

The interim coach started well with an 8-2 win over the Phillies. The team followed this up by taking three out of four games against the Kansas City Royals before the All-Star break.

Talent is there to succeed

The roster is a hugely talented one and needs to react to this in a positive way and results seem to have shown this.

The Blue Jays have six players (two starters) in the American League All-Star roster, this proves that they have the talent to take the franchise all the way, they just need to click and cement that playoff place in the second half of the season.

Following the All-Star break, the Blue Jays are at home to the Detroit Tigers in a three-game series. They then go on a long road trip with two games against Division rivals, Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field, four matches in Minnesota, followed by three games in Baltimore.

It will be interesting to see how Toronto manages the trade deadline, who they attempt to get, what areas they see as priorities to push them further this season at the moment they seem to be treading water.

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